11/21/2006, 00.00
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Christian missionary killed in Dili

A Protestant of Brazilian origin, Edgar Goncalves Brito, was killed over the weekend: the authorities have started an investigation and the United Nations has announced it will increase police deployment in the East Timorese capital.

Dili (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The UN will step up its police presence in East Timor after last weekend's killing in Dili of a Protestant missionary of Brazilian origin, the first stranger to be killed in sporadic violence that has plagued the island since April. The Timorese authorities have already launched an investigation into the Christian's death.  

Emir Bilget, police commissioner of the UN Integrated Mission in the former Portuguese colony, said yesterday: "You will be seeing much more patrolling on the streets." Bilget said another five police stations will be opened in addition to the existing three stations in and around Dili.

UN forces have also stepped up security measures near the town hospital, the scene of clashes between criminal gangs who have been roaming the area for months, and the site of the murder of a Brazilian missionary. On 19 November, Edgar Goncalves Brito – 32 years, member of the Assembly of God – was killed in front of his sister, a nurse. He used to teach Portuguese and help out in social work in Viqueque, east of Dili. Eyewitnesses said Brito was attacked by a group of people while he was in his car near the hospital. They dragged him out and slit his throat. It is the first foreign death since sporadic unrest erupted.

For months, East Timor has been trying to get back to normal after violence erupted between military deserters and loyalists around Dili, leaving at least 21 people dead and leading to the resignation of the then-premier Mari Alkatiri. The government asked for the intervention of international peacekeeping forces to restore peace.

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